Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to confront sexism

Surmountable Governance Issues
Mar 15, 2022
4 min read
Confront sexism by ratifying the ERA / iStock

Issue 9 • Week of March 13, 2022 / Updated May 15, 2023

Today is Equal Pay Day, symbolizing how far into 2022 the average American woman must work to earn as much as men made in 2021 – two and a half extra months – doing the same job. We can all do our part to call out sexism when we see it, but ultimately American women deserve legal protections only the Constitution can provide.

The Senate sent the Equal Rights Amendment written by Alice Paul in 1923 and revised in 1943 to state legislatures 50 years ago next week. We should not pat ourselves on the back because, contrary to popular belief, it is still not law. As we have seen with the Voting Rights Act, protections can be stripped away if not enshrined in the US Constitution.

There are some guarantees at the state level. About half of state constitutions mention some form of equal rights, nearly double the number of states that had granted women's suffrage before the 19th Amendment became law which shows the ERA is long overdue. Three states which have equal rights provisions in their state constitutions – Florida, Louisiana, and Utah – have not ratified the federal ERA, signaling further support.

Where do we go from here?

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